2023 Nissan Leaf

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The 2023 Nissan Leaf electric car blooms into another model year with a fresh face but only two trim levels down from five last year. The price increases from $520 to $28,895 for the base Leaf S, Nissan announced Tuesday.

Nissan’s electric car receives a few styling improvements for 2023 including a revised grille, front bumper, and exterior lighting elements. A set of cool multi-spoke wheels and an illuminated Nissan badge round out the Leaf’s exterior changes. The lineup has been trimmed to just a base S model and the longer-range SV Plus.

The fresh look on the Leaf arrives despite a whittled-down lineup of essentially two different battery packs, with the Leaf S using a 40-kWh battery pack with a range of up to 149 miles, and the Leaf SV Plus employing a 60-kWh pack with a range of 212 miles. Both models are front-wheel drives.

The 2023 Bolt EV and Bolt EUV are powered by a 200-hp electric motor at the front wheels, with a 65-kWh battery pack affording a range of 259 miles for the Bolt EV or 247 miles for the Bolt EUV. Unlike the 2023 Bolt, the Nissan Leaf still qualifies for the $7,500 federal EV tax credit, depending on your tax liability.

The base Leaf S could be a better deal, but it’s hard to ignore the additional range on the SV Plus. With the pared-down lineup and the delayed 2023 Nissan Ariya electric crossover due in dealerships soon, Nissan may be turning over a new Leaf by phasing out the EV once the tax credit phases out, which will likely begin this year.

EV MOTOR AND IMPLEMENTATION

Leafs are front-wheel-drive cars. The standard Leaf S comes with a 147-horsepower electric motor and a 40.0-kWh battery pack—both dinky by today’s standards. Leaf SV Plus gets a gutsier, 214-hp electric motor and a larger 62.0-kWh battery.

An S managed a 7.4-second zero-to-60-mph time at our test track, but it feels perkier than this number suggests thanks to the instantaneous power delivery of the electric motor. This result makes it slower than the Bolt EV and the Model 3, though.

Upgrading to the more powerful Plus model will no doubt result in quicker acceleration, but we won’t be able to confirm that until we are able to test one.

The 2023 Nissan Leaf‘s e-Pedal feature allows the driver to toggle back and forth between regenerative braking modes, one of which allows the car to coast when the driver lifts off the throttle and another that slows the car when you take your foot off the gas and uses that energy to recharge the battery.

 

The 2023 Nissan Leaf can be plugged into a regular 120-volt outlet or a 240-volt outlet, but the charging times vary dramatically between the two. On a 240-volt connection, Nissan says both the standard Leaf’s battery and the larger one in the Leaf Plus can be replenished in seven hours.

A DC fast-charging connection is standard on all trims. The Leaf S comes with a 40.0-kWh battery that provides a relatively limited range of 149 miles.

This might be enough range for some drivers with short commutes but it’s less than half of what the Model 3’s Long Range model provides. The SV Plus provides 215 miles of EPA-rated driving range thanks to its larger battery pack.

ENERGY AND REAL-WORLD MPG

Our SV Plus test vehicle exceeded its EPA highway rating of 94 MPGe by delivering 98 MPGe over our 75-mph highway fuel-economy test route.

However, we saw 180 miles of range during this test; EVs generally get less than their EPA rated number on the highway. For more information about the 2023 Nissan Leaf’s fuel economy, visit the EPA’s website.

INTERIOR, CONVENIENCE, AND BOOTH

Although the cabin of the 2023 Nissan Leaf has a lot of black plastic, the well-assembled and uniform textures help it avoid looking cheap. The gauge cluster features a large analog speedometer next to a 7.0-inch digital readout that can be reconfigured to show a variety of displays.

The Leaf’s seats are La-Z-Boy comfortable; the spacious rear seat offers plenty of room for adults, too. Despite the fact that the Leaf’s back seat doesn’t create a flat load floor when folded, we found the cargo capacity to be among the best in its class.

We fit seven carry-on suitcases behind the back seat and a whopping 19 with the back seat folded. For comparison, the Bolt EV held five in its cargo area and maxed out at 16 with its back seats stowed.

The Niro EV—which sports a more SUV-like Bodystyle—held slightly more cargo in our testing, but the 2023 Nissan Leaf still is tops among electric cars.

IN-VEHICLE INFOTAINMENT AND INTERCONNECTIONS

All Leaf models come with the same 8.0-inch infotainment display with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration; navigation is optional. The latest Nissan Connect software interface, while not particularly pleasing to the eye, is intuitive and quick to respond to inputs.

Audiophiles may be disappointed with the 2023 Nissan Leaf‘s standard six-speaker audio system; a seven-speaker Bose system is optional but it didn’t impress us during our test drive either.

PROTECTION AND DRIVER-ASSISTANCE ASPECTS

Nissan’s Safety Shield 360 suite of driver-assistance features is standard across the lineup and the brand’s novel ProPilot Assist semi-autonomous driving mode is optional.

For more information about the 2023 Nissan Leaf’s crash-test results, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) websites.

PHOTOS

2023 Nissan Leaf

2023 Nissan Leaf

2023 Nissan Leaf

2023 Nissan Leaf

2023 Nissan Leaf

FULL SPECIFICATIONS

2019 Nissan Leaf SV Plus

VEHICLE TYPE
front-motor, front-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door hatchback

PRICE AS TESTED
$42,580 (base price: $37,445)

MOTOR TYPE
permanent-magnet synchronous AC motor, 215 hp, 251 lb-ft; 62.0-kWh lithium-ion battery pack

TRANSMISSION
1-speed direct-drive

DIMENSIONS
Wheelbase: 106.3 in
Length: 176.4 in
Width: 70.5 in
Height: 61.4 in
Passenger volume: 93 cu ft
Cargo volume: 24 cu ft
Curb weight: 3831 lb

C/D
TEST RESULTS
Zero to 60 mph: 6.8 sec
Zero to 100 mph: 19.9 sec
Rolling start, 5–60 mph: 6.8 sec
Top gear, 30–50 mph: 2.4 sec
Top gear, 50–70 mph: 3.7 sec
Standing ¼-mile: 15.4 sec @ 92 mph
Top speed (governor limited): 106 mph
Braking, 70–0 mph: 190 ft
Roadholding, 300-ft-dia skidpad: 0.76 g

C/D
FUEL ECONOMY
Observed: 90 MPGe
75-mph highway driving: 98 MPGe
Highway range: 180 miles

EPA FUEL ECONOMY
Combined/city/highway: 104/114/94 MPGe
EV range: 215

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